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Eugene Daily News
Franklin Bains

Franklin Bains

Franklin Bains, contributing sports writer for EDN, writes about Ducks volleyball, Eugene prep sports and Pac-12 football, as well as some odds and ends in Oregon sports. Previously wrote for the Oregon Daily Emerald. Bains writes a weekly Pac-12 recap, and his favorite place in the spring might just be the PK Park press box.
bains@uoregon.edu FTBains

Weekend Baseball: Tommy Thorpe Named to USA Baseball Collegiate Team; Ducks play Utes in Weekend Series

Tommy Thorpe (OregonLive)

Tommy Thorpe
(OregonLive)

Tommy Thorpe got to start Fridays for the Ducks six starts ago and has been terrorizing Pac-12 offenses ever since. His best start came last Friday in Oregon’s one win in the weekend series with Oregon State. Thorpe, a left-hander from Vancouver, Wash., will get the chance to pitch for the US national team this summer after one hell of a year.

Thorpe has 78 strikeouts on the year against 32 walks, and allowed just 75 hits, giving him a solid 1.218 WHIP on the year. He’s had those six Friday starts (all denoted quality outings) along with eight on Saturday before the decision was made to rotate the starters. Thorpe, Cole Irvin, who moved from Sunday to Saturday, and Jake Reed, who moved from Friday to Sunday, didn’t seem to miss a beat, and in fact took a step up.

“To have him Friday night, and Cole Saturday night and Jake Sunday, I think we have the best starting pitching staff in the nation,” all-American Oregon closer Jimmie Sherfy said last Friday after Thorpe’s 8-inning 2-hitter win.

The trio has started every weekend series for the Ducks despite the shift and Thorpe leads the pack, with the only sub-2.5 ERA (2.39) among the starters, and he’s turned it to another gear since taking Fridays. In those six starts, he’s had just a 1.29 mark while holding opponents to a .208 batting average.

Thorpe leads the staff, only allowing one home run in his time out there and presenting a piece of consistency for the Ducks’ weekend starts.

This is probably the perfect weekend for Thorpe to receive such an honor, following his performance against the Beavers last Friday. He held the powerful Beaver lineup to just the two hits and scoreless through eight innings, which proved to be quite the task, one that the other Duck pitchers just couldn’t seem to replicate. (After his eight innings, the Beavers outscored the Ducks 21-2 in the next 19 innings.)

Thorpe is a gem on the Oregon mound, maybe not the clear ace of the squad, but definitely a strong component as the team moves forward, and this summer, he’ll get the chance to show the nation on the US team.

***

Thorpe will throw the first pitch for the Ducks’ last weekend series tonight at 5 p.m. against Utah. He’ll mark up against the Utes’ ace Mitch Waltrous who led Utah to its first sweep of the season against Kansas with a 2-hitter complete game shutout last Friday.

Tonight’s game starts the last series for both teams, who are both looking to end the regular season on a good note.

Oregon needs to close out strong to state its case to the nation that the season shouldn’t be judged on the Civil War, while Utah, last in the Pac all year long, will be gunning for an upset that could give momentum for next year.

The biggest question should be seeing how the Ducks’ offense rebounds. If Ryon Healy, Scott Heineman and J.J. Altobelli get going early, none of these games should be close.

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